Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

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IL: CWD culling finds spread is limited

Arlington Heights, Ill. – A culling program that killed 75 deer
in Kane County yielded no “significant” cases of chronic wasting
disease, a DNR biologist reported.

DNR had announced plans for the program back in February after the
discovery of CWD in two deer late last year.

The culling took place in the Kane County Forest Preserve, Dundee
Township, Sleepy Hollow and on private property in the area

None of the deer shot by the state tested positive, though results
of the testing showed two more deer testing positive – one deer was
found by a homeowner on Feb. 11 and the other was also found near
Routes 47 and 30 on March 11.

Dan Ludwig, the regional wildlife biologist for DNR, said the
spread of the disease recorded by the findings may not be
widespread, but it’s still noteworthy.

“It’s a serious disease of deer, and we don’t want to leave it
unchecked,” Ludwig told the Arlington Heights Daily Herald. “We’re
not trying to eliminate the disease, but we want to keep the
prevalence low.”

There have been 42 CWD cases reported in Illinois in 2011 and a
total of 336 since 2003. There were 37 CWD “positive” reports in
2010.

In recent years, DNR has implemented some new regulations that have
banned the feeding of deer, because diseases are more easily spread
among animals when they become concentrated at feeding areas. This
change does not apply to food plots or standing crops, but includes
salt blocks that are not part of an active livestock
operation.

DNR has also limited the parts of deer or elk that hunters can
bring into Illinois after they harvest the animal in another state:
hunters are allowed to bring antlers on a cleaned skull cap,
boned-out meat, and hides. Since the prion that causes CWD tends to
concentrate in some of the inedible parts of deer that are
discarded after butchering.

A task force formed by DNR has developed and implemented plans
regarding surveillance of wild deer, the import and export of deer
and elk, and a response to the discovery of CWD in Illinois.

Hunters have been asked to participate in the surveillance effort
by providing samples of harvested deer when requested and by
alerting authorities when suspect animals are found.

DNR also continues to utilize its sharpshooting program to acquire
additional samples testing and for herd reduction within known CWD
locations.

DNR spokesman Chris McCloud said the culling program in Kane County
was worth the effort

“We didn’t do it for nothing,” McCloud said. “We did this to gain
information. If we don’t utilize methods to monitor the disease
there’s a real danger that the entire Illinois deer herd could be
in jeopardy. Chronic wasting disease is certainly something we are
concerned about.”

Kane County Forest Preserve District President John Hoscheit said
he still believes commissioners did the right thing in agreeing to
the testing. No, the testing didn’t show a significant outbreak of
chronic wasting disease in the area, but that’s good news, Hoscheit
said.

Sleepy Hollow Trustee Scott Finney agreed with that assessment,
saying its his understanding the state has a multiyear plan now to
cull and test deer in the area.

“I don’t know how long it will be before it spreads to us,” Finney
said.

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